Beautiful and Unexpected: Lots to See in North Dakota


The people

What makes North Dakota different from anywhere else? Is the bison? The great fishing and hunting? Biking and hiking on spectacular trails? The majestic scenery? Or is the people? Judge for yourself. We think the people are every bit as important to the story of North Dakota.

Roadside art

There’s a lot to see in North Dakota, including beautiful sunsets, colorful crops, wildlife and 38-foot-tall cows. Really. Salem Sue towers over the cars passing by on the interstate at New Salem. She is one of several pieces of larger-than-life roadside art scattered across the North Dakota landscapes. A large number of sculptures can be found along the Enchanted Highway between Gladstone and Regent in western North Dakota, including:

  • World’s Largest Buffalo: The 26-foot-tall bison stands watch over the live buffalo herd at the National Buffalo Museum along Interstate 94 in Jamestown.
  • Wahpper Catfish: The 40-foot-long catfish in Wahpeton is a tribute to the great catfishing on the Red River.
  • Wally the Walleye: Lake Sakakawea’s great walleye fishing is recognized in Garrison by a 26-foot walleye sculpture on Main Street.
  • Lewis, Clark and Sheheke: Sculptures of the two explorers and the Native American chief greet visitors at the entrance to Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn. A large replica of the explorers’ dog, Seaman, stands guard along the Missouri River at nearby Fort Mandan.

The Pheasants on the Prairie statue along the Enchanted Highway. Courtesy North Dakota Tourism

Open road

What does “wide open” really mean? In North Dakota, it means just that. Here you will find wide-open places with abundances of hiking trails and open roads providing easy, traffic-free travel along scenic byways and backways.

From its tabletop-flat farmland of the Red River Valley in the east to its rolling hills and wetlands through the central part of the state to its rugged Badlands out west, North Dakota is a scenic wonderland. And it’s truly wide open, meaning you can experience a lot without the crowds you find in a lot of other places.

North Dakota’s scenic byways and backways crisscross some of the state’s most beautiful scenery, including the Badlands that cover much of the west. While it may be a hidden gem to some, the 144-mile-long Maah Daah Hey Trail through the Badlands from near Amidon to near Watford City, and its adjoining trail spurs, are well-known by avid hikers and bikers. Sections range from difficult to easy, even for the most novice hikers and bikers.

Other trails in state parks, wildlife refuges and grasslands are just as enjoyable for day hikes or rides.

“Wide open” means just that in North Dakota. Courtesy North Dakota Tourism

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